A cargo ship capsized off Japan’s Nagasaki prefecture, leaving nine crew members missing.
The Japanese coast guard received a distress signal from the Hong Kong-flagged vessel Jin Tian late on 24 January night as it cruised 110 kilometres west of the Danjo Islands in the East China Sea with a crew of 22 people aboard.
The coast guard boarded emergency rafts at 2.40 am local time.
The ship reportedly went under six minutes later.
The incident occurred as winter storms hit Western Japan on the day, bringing freezing and windy conditions.
Rescue efforts continue as 13 crew members have been rescued so far – five by commercial vessels cruising nearby, two by Japan Air Self-Defense Force helicopters, and six by the South Korean maritime police.
Two members of the crew – consisting of 14 Chinese and eight Myanmar nationals – have since died, the coast guard confirmed.
The cause of the incident remains under investigation.
Vessel data analysed by Bloomberg shows the ship was loaded with a cargo from Papua New Guinea in early January and was en route to Incheon port in South Korea.
This incident appears to be the most severe since a cargo ship carrying nearly 6,000 cattle sank in 2019 off the coast, resulting in the majority of the 39 crew members missing at sea.